After The Dream and Sean Garrett battled on Instagram Live recently, the latest music titans to hash it out were Ne-Yo and acclaimed songwriter Johntá Austin. If you’re an R&B head you peeped when Ne-Yo took to Instagram to ask his fans if they’d tune into a songwriter battle between him and Austin.
Following this, Johntá tweeted, “Y’all requested. My brother and I will oblige. Great night ahead!” What was great about this moment confirming the forthcoming battle was the fact that Austin then shared a few ground rules. He also tweeted that he’d always had an affinity for Ne-yo’s songwriting skills.
Before we share a few highlights from the live competition, we figured it wouldn’t hurt to share that Austin has built his career by working with iconic artists such as Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and Aaliyah. While Ne-Yo, alongside launching his solo career was known for penning tracks on behalf of Beyoncé, Rihanna, and countless others.
A bit after 8 p.m., both artists tuned into their respective Instagram account to begin the battle. Johntá started the battle with the Billboard chart-topping single “Get Gone” by the group Ideal, Ne-Yo followed suit by playing Marques Houston’s “That Girl.” Both tracks were great selections to lead with.
Austin was up next and he decided to fire off with Aaliyah’s beloved song “I Miss You” which led to an animated reaction from Ne-Yo. This single is undeniably still in the hearts of many fans that grew up loving the late Detroit singer. Ne-Yo then served up Rihanna’s “Unfaithful” which upon its release was an outright hit.
At that point, each songwriter went hard with their counter songs. Austin fired off Carey’s “It’s Like That,” Ne-Yo responded with Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down” with him and Kanye West. Directly following this Johntá said, “You know you a legend with young hit makers sample your shit to make their shit” and then proceeded to play Bryson Tiller’s “Don’t” which features a sample of Carey’s “Shake It Off” which he wrote.
“Stingy” by Ginuwine was Ne-Yo’s next choice which was then countered by one of Chris Brown’s breakout singles, “Yo (Excuse Me Miss).” More deep cuts within Austin’s catalog that he would go on to play included “Don’t Forget About Us” (Carey), “Shortie Like Mine” (Chris Brown), “I Need A Girl” (Trey Songz), “Sweet Lady” (Tyrese), “I Don’t Wanna” (Aaliyah) and “Poppin” (Brown).
Ne-Yo filled up most of the battle with a few of his hit singles “So Sick,” “Do You,” “Mirror,” and “Sexy Love,” “Miss Independent.” He also played buzzy tracks he’d built his successful career upon including “Take A Bow,” (Rihanna), “Flaws and All” (Beyoncé), and “Let Me Love You” (Mario).
The last songs played by both artists were wildly popular when they dropped. By the time Austin played Carey’s “We Belong Together,” fans and celebrities had already predicted Ne-Yo would end the battle with “Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé which he did. This is perhaps one of his most successful songs of all time.
Once the battle wrapped, Johntá and Ne-Yo shared that it was a tie between them and ended everything on good terms. In total, the battle proved that both artists are responsible for shaping the sound of R&B over the past twenty years which is no small feat. About an hour later Tidal shared an official playlist of the competition.
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